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Reply #96: Gracias, amigos! Remember FRANK CHURCH... [View All]

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-03-05 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #87
The late Sen. Frank Church was a World War II hero, a Senator at age 32 and on the CIA's shit list since 1961, when he blamed the CIA for the screwball Bay of Pigs operation (Hi, Poppy!). He was an early opponent of the Vietnam War, having himself served in southeast Asia during WW II, he understood better than most what the likely outcomes to be.

In 1975, Church...

Named Chairman of Select Committee to Study Governmental Opera- tions with Respect to Intelligence Activities - investigates alleged abuse of power by CIA and FBI. Reveals CIA involvement in plots to assassinate world leaders, coup against Chile's Marxist President Salvador Allende, covert operations against radical groups as de- fined by 1. Edgar Hoover, including Martin Luther King Jr., Adlai Stevenson and justice William 0. Douglas. Committee makes 100 recommendations including curbing illegal wire taps, mail opening, break-ins, surveillance, harassment of political dissidents, assassination plots against foreign leaders, and campaigns to smear Civil Rights activists.


Gee. Must've hit a raw nerve (Hi, Poppy!) The CIA is reported to have used its domestic assets to help defeat Church during 1980 reelection campaign (lost by less than 1-percent of vote). Four years later, Chuch suffered from cancer and died.

Still, War Inc. uses Church as a strawman, blaming him for 9-11:

Back to Church
By Chris Mooney
Issue Date: 11.5.01

Hawkish conservatives today must secretly reserve a special affection for the late Idaho Democrat Frank Church; after all, he provided them with the cudgel they've since used to batter liberal critics of the U.S. intelligence community. As chair of the Senate's 1975 intelligence investigation, Church famously characterized the Central Intelligence Agency as a "rogue elephant rampaging out of control." He was struggling to describe the lack of any clear presidential authorization for the agency's bungled assassination attempts against Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. But to Church's critics, the "rogue elephant" comment came to epitomize the barnstorming liberal senator's hopelessly naive approach to intelligence. What president, they asked, would leave behind a written assassination order? Who was Church kidding? And how dare the senator--gearing up to run for president--grandstand at the expense of national security?

In the wake of September 11, we've been hearing "rogue elephant" again. The hawks have flung blame all around for the massive intelligence failure that permitted the September attacks, targeting Bill Clinton, CIA Director George Tenet, and the defenseless Frank Church. September 11 was Church's fault, these critics explain, because his bipartisan committee--which probed not just CIA assassination plots but covert operations, domestic-mail-intercept programs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's hounding of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other abuses--broke the spirit of the nation's intelligence community by exposing its embarrassing missteps.

The Church bashing began the day of the World Trade Center massacre on ABC, when former Secretary of State James Baker said that Church's hearings had caused us to "unilaterally disarm in terms of our intelligence capabilities." The allegation was soon repeated by Republican Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri and numerous conservative commentators. The Wall Street Journal editorial page called the opening of Church's public hearings "the moment that our nation moved from an intelligence to anti-intelligence footing." And the spy-mongering novelist Tom Clancy attacked Church on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor: "The CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don't like intelligence operations," he said. "And as a result of that, as an indirect result of that, we've lost 5,000 citizens last week."


Although the CIA had ballooned to the size of the State Department by the late 1950s, prior to 1975 the U.S. intelligence community had never undergone significant congressional scrutiny. The laissez-faire attitude was encapsulated by a remark to Church from the Republican Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts: "It's better for gentlemen not to know what's going on." But after a 1974 New York Times series by Seymour Hersh revealed that the CIA had conducted "massive" illegal spying activities against American antiwar protesters and dissidents, Congress and the executive branch convulsed into action. Three separate bodies were formed to investigate the intelligence services: Church's committee in the Senate, a committee headed by New York Democrat Otis Pike in the House of Representatives, and a commission led by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.

The Watergate hearings lingered in recent memory, and Church was in some sense the congressional equivalent of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The amount of information amassed by his committee of 11 senators and more than 100 staff members was staggering: 800 interviews, 110,000 pages of documents. As the University of Georgia political scientist and Church-committee staffer Loch K. Johnson describes in his 1985 account Season of Inquiry, the committee's reports added up to "a stack of green-covered Senate publications standing over two feet high and numbering several thousand pages." And as the embarrassing revelations tumbled out--that the CIA had kept lethal shellfish poisons despite an order from President Nixon to destroy them, for example, or that it had administered LSD to "unwitting" human subjects--the Ford administration dug in its heels. Indeed, the rhetoric of "dismantling" and "crippling" the CIA comes from ur-Realpolitickers Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger.


Gee. A guy wants to know what a government agency does in the People's name and all he gets is a hearty shove over the edge. If there was justice in the land, some of these people blaming Church for 9-11 would look in the mirror. For instance, who let the Saudis, including Osama's kin, fly out of the country? Or, who ignored the FBI warnings that terrorists were training to fly jumbo jets? Does the name BUSH ring a bell, Poppy?

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